Your Copyright Is Useless!
There are numerous websites that let anyone upload anything and claim they are not responsible if copyright protected material is uploaded. They are happy to remove the protected material, if you can prove the work is yours and if you know your work is on their website.
Thanks to Google Alerts, I located three sites that posted one of my ebooks without my permission. After sending them a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice, my work was removed, but the damage was done, and I had lost lots of money. These sites show statistics, and when added together, if everyone who downloaded my book had actually paid for it, I would have sold over $1,000,000 worth of my book. That’s going to sting for a while.
One of these sites claims to put all removed books into a database. When a new book is uploaded, it is supposed to compare it to everything in the database, and if there are any matches, the manuscript will not be posted on the website. So far, this site has posted my book on five separate occasions. I guess their database doesn’t work very well.
On their third infringement of my copyright, I contacted GoDaddy to have them disable the domain name, they said no. I then contacted the site’s hosting company (DynDNS.com) to disable the site, they said no. I contacted FaceBook, where they had a page, and asked them to remove the page since it promotes illegally downloading copyright protected material. They said no, but they would look into it further. I contacted the company and asked for the names and e-mail addresses of all the members who downloaded my work so I could send them an invoice, they told me to hire a lawyer.
So basically, your copyright, and the DMCA regulations, do nothing because it’s all up to you, and you have to pay for the lawyer. I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to hire a lawyer every time my work appears somewhere. I could if I had that $1,000,000 though.
And if you think your work is safe because it’s not digital, you are wrong. I know of one case where a woman had written a full-length book, and someone went to the trouble of scanning the entire book and uploading it to one of these sites. She did hire a lawyer, and the case is still in process.
So what can you do to protect yourself? First, you have to find the sites where your work is illegally posted. You can do this by using Google Alerts. It’s free and works great. I do suggest putting multiple word searches into quotation marks. If you search for a book titled My Roman House, you will get results for any hits on those three individual words. It’s better to look for “My Roman House” as then Google will search for that string of words. It makes for a much shorter and more accurate search results list.
Go to sites that post copyright protected material without permission and look for your works. Start with:
After you find your work on a site, look around. You should find a link about removing a work, or lodging a DMCA complaint. Do what it says, and follow-up to be sure your work is removed.
You’ll find, like I did, that this is a never-ending process. Until the government steps up and starts dealing with this issue, your only recourse is to hire a lawyer.